Saturday, January 29, 2011

Colleagues List, January 29th, 2011

Vol. VI. No. 20


Wayne A. Holst, Editor


Colleagues List Blog:


In this Issue:

Special Item This Week

Cancer Discharge Letter -
"Reflection on a Cure and
 a Look at Survivorship"


Colleague Contributions

Douglas John Hall
Ed Schroeder

Net Notes

The Moral Landscape
Spiritual But Not Religious
Christianity Today 2010 Book Awards
Christian Leaders Plan Thailand Meet
Sudanese Referendum Sparks Flight North
Pope Notes Catholic-Lutheran 'Togetherness'
Indian Court Responds to 'Conversion' Issue
T.S. Eliot Prize Goes to Poet Derek Walcott
Billy Graham on Aging, Regrets, Evangelicalism
Space Demand Inspires  Interfaith Co-Operation

Global Faith Potpourri:

5 Stories from Ecumenical News International


Quotes of the Week:

Teresa of Avila
Elie Wiesel
Joan Chittister
Dorothy Day

On This Day:

Jan. 23, 1973 - Nixon announces end of
                        Vietnam War
Jan. 24, 1965 - Churchill dies in London
                        at age 90
Jan. 25, 1915 - Bell inaugurates continental
                        phone service
Jan. 26, 1950 - India proclaims itself
                        a republic
Jan. 27, 1967 - Grissom, White & Chaffee
                        die in Apollo fire
Jan. 28, 1986 - Challenger explodes;
                        all 7 crew members die


Closing Thought



Dear Friends:

This week I began teaching three courses
at the university and church for a winter
term and consider it a cause for special

A year ago I was diagnosed with colon
cancer and, after a series of tests,
treatments and surgery, I have been
declared 'cured' by my doctors. I am
resuming my regular teaching schedule,
and to recognize this I would like to
share with you the following article
I have just written. It is entitled:

"Reflection on a Cure and
 a Look at Survivorship"

Colleague Contributions

Douglas John Hall introduces an article
he had published in the January 5th issue
of the Christian Century on the value of
neo-orthodoxy as a theological critique
for our times.

Ed Schroeder writes a Lutheran theological
critique of the State of the Union Address
given this past week by President Obama.

Net Notes

"The Moral Landscape" - John Haught,
a theologian from Georgetown University
who specializes in evolution, does an
interesting assessment of Sam Harris'
latest book - the one I am using for
my university course (America Magazine)

"Spiritual But Not Religious" - while
this phrase has become common in both
religious and secular circles, local
congregations are challenged to come
to terms with it - within and beyond
their own communities (Alban Weekly)

"Christianity Today 2010 Book Awards" -
The American evangelical periodical
issues its picks (Christianity Today)

"Christian Leaders Plan Thailand Meet" -
several international and ecumenical
organizations are meeting together
in Asia at a time of great change
(Uccan News)

"Sudanese Referendum Sparks Flight North" -
The separation vote in the Southern Sudan
is putting pressure on many who voted for
unity to go north (Catholic News Service)

"Pope Notes Catholic-Lutheran 'Togetherness'"
- Benedict warmly welcomes a group of German
church leaders meeting in Rome (Zenit News)

"Indian Court Responds to 'Conversion' Issue"
- conversion from one faith to another is a
very contentious issue in India today
(Uccan News)

"T.S. Eliot Prize Goes to Poet Derek Walcott"
- the Caribbean poet has suffered recent
reputational challenges but is seen as being
redeemed by this recent Oxbridge honour
(The Guardian, UK)

"Billy Graham on Aging, Regrets, Evangelicalism"
- the grand old man of American evangelicalism
is interviewed by Christianity Today.

"Limited Space Inspires Interfaith Co-Operation"
- northern Canada is a place for experimentation
with worship space as I discovered years ago

Global Faith Potpourri:

5 stories are provided this week from Ecumenical
News International kin Geneva.


Quotes of the Week:

Teresa of Avila, Elie Wiesel, Joan Chittister
and Dorothy Day share their wisdom with us
courtesy of

On This Day:

The New York Times archives provides these
on-the scene reports as they happened

Nixon announces end of Vietnam War (1973)
Churchill dies in London at age 90 (1965)
Bell begins continental phone service (1915)
India proclaims itself a republic (1950)
Grissom, White & Chaffee die in Apollo fire (1967)
Challenger explodes; all 7 crew members die (1986)

Closing Thought - a fashion tip

Blessings on your week!




Contact us at: (or)
St. David's Web Address -

Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -



Created and maintained by Colleague
Jock McTavish



Books Considered:

"An Altar in the World"
 by Barbara Brown Taylor


"I Shall Not Hate -
 A Gaza Doctor's Journey"
 by Izzeldin Abuelaish

More study and website particulars will
be posted as they become available.

Classes have already begun!




We continue our investigation of the
New Atheists and consider the question:
"Can we be good without God?"

Text for the course will be Sam Harris'
new book:

"The Moral Landscape:
 How Science Can Determine Human Values"
 (Free Press, October, 2010)

Course description and registration

Classes have now begun. A great group!




We plan a 15-day tour of special Celtic sites
in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England -
April 26th - May 10th, 2011.

A highlight of the tour will be a visit to
St. David's Cathedral, Pembrokeshire. Choir
members from our group will sing at various
informal cathedral events through the day
and at Evensong, on Saturday, May 7th!

We have 26 choristers signed up as part of
the tour group. This special choir begins
rehearsals in early January - led by our
congregation's music director, Brent Tucker.

Details are presently being finalized with
the St. David's cathedral dean, Fr. Jonathan

We are also planning to sing while visiting
Iona, Scotland and the Church of Mary
Immaculate in Inchicore, Dublin, Ireland.
Fr. Ned Carolan, host.Rehearsals begin
Sunday, January 23rd.


January 26th was the deadline for all
trip payments - 90 days before departure.

We continue to gather a waiting list for this
trip,as they may be some drop-outs as we near
deadlines. We have started an interest list for
future tours!

Let me know if you are interested in knowing
more about exciting, spiritual tourism!



A collection of twenty-five+ studies conducted
since 2000 can quickly be found at:

This collection of study resources represents
a decade of Monday Night Studies at St. David's,
plus extra courses too!

You are welcome to use our course outlines,
class notes and resource pages in your personal
and group reflections.




This week, I received a letter of
discharge from the Tom Baker Cancer
Centre in Calgary and I would like
to share some thoughts with you at
an important time in my 68 years
of life.

The letter was sent to my family
physician, Dr. Patrick Lai, but I
received a copy. In it, the cancer
specialists advised my family doctor
that "Wayne Holst no longer requires
further care from us."

The notice went on to suggest an
on-going regimen of physical exams,
CT scans and colonoscopy tests through
the next six years.

According to my cancer doctors, I can
declare myself cured, while they will
wait for about four more years of
cancer-free test results before they
declare me "medically cured."

The major event of my past year, as many
of you know, was my cancer detection,
(January 11th, 2010) chemo and radiation
treatments - a total of 25 + 23 = 48
respectively (March through December) and
surgery on June 15th.

Countless hours were spent making 95
visits to the Centre and the Hospital,
including 7 days of hospitalization.
My wife Marlene faithfully accompanied me
through the entire process, and made an
additional 15 hospital visits. That's
a total of 110! We live only 15 minutes
from the Foothills Medical Centre. I
think of those folk who have to travel
miles from their homes to do the same

I attribute the resulting "cure" to
early detection, professional treatment,
a caring extended family (including some
very kind people at the church and the
university) and my faith in a loving God.

I now know I was a stage two (of four
possible stages) cancer victim.

If you have cancer in your family, get
tests to determine you are cancer free.
That would be my primary piece of advice.
It can make all the difference.


Recent developments in the science of
cancer cure suggest that chemo and
radiation treatments may be enough to
destroy a tumor and infected area;
so that the number of future surgeries
might be significantly reduced.

We now talk of 'beating back cancer'
- step by step - until a cure is found.

I am currently attempting to determine
what my experience cost our Canadian
health care system.

A general figure stands at $100,000
but I would like to be more specific.
If I were an American, with no insurance,
who sought to use our system, this is
likely to be what it would cost him,
according to Dr. Donald Buie my surgeon.


My Response to Cancer

In an article on cancer survivorship
(Globe and Mail, February 11th, 2010)
Andre Picard, the paper's public health
reporter, wrote that with the growing
number and percentage of Canadian
cancer survivors (we have one of the
best records in the world - if not the
best - for colon cancer)... "public
policy must now begin to focus on
'survivorship' so as to manage cancer
through a person's life cycle."

We no longer deal with the deadly enemy
we once faced. More and more of us can
call ourselves "survivors."

My question now is - "How do we help
people to live through and beyond cancer
to enhance societal quality of life?"
Five year survival rates for many
cancers now stand at 90+%. I have been
told that my own rate (because of the
many 'assurance treatments' I took
after surgery) stands at 98+%.

One friend commented that heart problems
have overtaken cancer as our deadliest

There are 700,000 cancer survivors in
Canada today and with many of these good
folk, I would like to create a positive
response to the good thing that happened
to me in the past twelve months.

I survived a serious disease that, only
some years ago, would most certainly have
killed me.

Now, I want to give back.

I have created a personal binder called
"My Cancer Story 2010" that contains
information on each step of my journey.
It includes notes from every medical
person from whom I learned something
(which amounts to about 100 different
people.) It includes consultations with
my surgeon and specialists, my nurses
and other medical supporters, and
advice from family and friends.

What will I do with this bulging binder?
My first activity will be to create an
article which I hope to write for a
periodical with wide circulation. In it
I want to celebrate the dedicated skills
of my caregivers and my pride in our
Canadian health care system. The fact is,
many of these fine folk do their jobs -
day in and day out - "in spite of" not
"because of" - the system, and the
press they frequently receive.

You can help me to make the most of my
survivorship by suggesting other ways
that I can express a grateful "thanks."



Montreal, QC

The Case for Faith

The Christian Century
January 5th, 2011

This article is not yet fully available
to the public, but will be shared on
Colleagues List as soon as it is posted
in full. Please click:


A note from from Doug Hall:

January 22nd, 2011

Thank you, Wayne.  The article brought many
interesting (mostly positive) responses. 
The critique of religion, which was central
to the thinking of Barth, Tillich, Bonhoeffer,
Niebuhr and others of that generation, never
'made it' into the main stream of Christian
thinking--especially in North America. 

After 1960, the attention of Protestants
was consumed with cause - and identity -
theologies, and the whole so-called neo-
orthodox renewal/revolution in theology
was buried under a sea of 'theologies of'. 

I think it is necessary somehow to revive
the critique of religion today in the light
of the violence and fear that all the
religions court, whether they desire it or
not!  If the 'new atheism' is understood
as a reaction to this implicit and explicit
exclusivism and self-righteousness of the
religious mentality, it may be understood as
something like an ally of critical theology,
if not even of faith itself.

- Doug


St. Louis, MO.

Thursday Theology #659
January 27, 2011 
Topic: President Obama's Address


President Obama concluded his message to the
nation two days ago with the standard mantra
for such occasions: "God bless the United
States of America."

Sad to say, it ain't gonna happen. Curmudgeon
though I may be, that conclusion is not
original with me.

If the Bible is any kind of yardstick for God's
blessing business, it ain't gonna happen. 

Claus Westermann (Biblical super-scholar of my
younger years) showed us that God's blessing -
business is - in Lutheran lingo - God's left-
hand operation. It's a consequence of good
behavior, good performance. It's getting your
just deserts. It happens because God sees to
it that in God's old creation righteousness is
rewarded and wickedness punished. 

Both individuals and nations. [Remember the
ancient meaning of "nation" (Latin) is not a
governing state, but the "tribe, race, people"
being governed]. So if a nation is getting
clobbered, God has closed down the blessing-
business. Once a nation becomes an empire,
it's super-grim. There's no Biblical example
of God ever blessing empires. They always get
"weighed, and found wanting."

As if that's not bad enough... Sadder still
is that neither the American president, nor
the American people seem to have any clue
that God is not blessing America right now
and that there are no grounds for expecting
God to stop non-blessing America. Also
clueless are they - are we - to the fact
that if God's not doing the blessing business,
then there's just one alternative.  And it is
not that God has taken a holiday from doing
any business at all. That never happens. 

Isn't this what that madman Jeremiah Wright,
the president's one-time pastor, told him -
yes, told the nation - before Obama was

Obama said no, Wright was wrong, was
misreading the data.  The American people
agreed with Obama.

How could God ever stop blessing America
and revert to cursing instead? Nonsense.
Other nations perhaps, but not America. 
We're different from "the nations" - even
if the Bible does put us in that column.

In last Tuesday's address Obama was not
only speaking TO us Americans, but even
more FOR us. Despite the Republican/
Democratic gridlock in the very room
where he was speaking, both factions agree
(as do the constituencies they represent)
that these words of his are true:

- We share a common creed [Ah, but just
  what is it? Listen to the items below.]

- That creed sets us apart as a nation.
  [Does the judge of creeds (and nations)
  agree? Why then all our troubles?]

- We have broken the back of the recession.
  The worst of the recession is over.

  [a mantra throughout the address]

- We can out-educate, out-innovate,
  out-build the rest of the world.

- We Americans do big things.

- In America anything is possible.

- The Iraq war is coming to an end.

- [al Queda,] we will not relent, nor
  waver; we will defeat you.


Sobering notes were there, but the irony in
them ignored:

- We need to rebuild our people's faith in
government. How do you bring back faith when
it has faded away?  Rebuild faded faith in
anything? That's fundamental theology.
That's mission work. Obama didn't give any
details that got below the surface for fixing
this faith-fadeout.

And then this one, not disconnected to the
one above:

- We should have no illusions (about what
it will take to get us out of our troubles).
But how many of those points above are not
just that: illusions?

Not just president's illusions, but the
illusions of the people (the nation), both
Republican and Democrat. He did indeed not
only speak TO the nation, but also FOR us.
Those illusions ARE "the common creed we
all share." 

Jesus once said something about what
happens when the blind lead the blind.

- Ed

Read more Thursday Theology from Ed:



Review of Sam Harris book
by theologian John Haught

America Magazine
Feb. 1st, 2011


What are our congregations doing
for people who make this claim?

Alban Weekly
Jan. 24th, 2011


Evangelical Reading Picks of Last Year

Christianity Today
January 29th, 2011


Several International and Ecumenical
Organizations Plan to Meet in Asia

Uccan News
January 21st, 2011


Unity Voters Head Back to the North

Catholic News Service
January 27th, 2011


Pope Encourages Continued Dialogue

Zenit News from Rome
Jan. 24th, 2011

He Points to Future of Hope,
Despite Difficulties

Benedict XVI says that what has already been
achieved between Catholics and Lutherans on
the path to unity reinforces trust that the
dialogue will continue...

Read the article:


Serious Religious Issue Signaled by Court

Uccan News
Jan. 26th, 2011


Caribbean Poet Sees Reputation Rebuilt

The Guardian, UK
January 25th, 2011


Evangelist Has Second Thoughts

Ecumenical News International
January 26th, 2011

Billy Graham says he "would have steered clear
of politics"

New York(ENI news) – American evangelist Billy
Graham – who has been called "the pastor for
presidents" for having met and prayed with
every U.S. president in the last six decades,
from Harry Truman to Barack Obama - has publicly
acknowledged regret at sometimes crossing the
line between ministry and politics


Christianity Today/Graham Interview
January 26th, 2011


Northern Canada Builds Joint Facilities
January 26th, 2011



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
25 January 2011

Sudan faith leader supports call to forgiveness

Juba, Southern Sudan (ENI news) – The head of the
Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) has backed a
statement by the president of southern Sudan that
southerners should forgive northerners for the
deaths and atrocities of the 21-year civil war.


Several leaders will boycott Anglican summit

Canterbury, England (ENI news)--At least seven
of the leaders representing 38 Anglican provinces
worldwide will not attend a key meeting in Dublin
from 25-30 January. Their absence comes at a time
when the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan
Williams, is under mounting pressure from two
wings of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion
on the subject of human sexuality.


26 January 2011

Russian Patriarch denounces Moscow airport bombing

Moscow (ENI news) –Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill
I denounced a terrorist attack at Moscow’s busiest
airport as "the horrifying scowl of sin, and a
barbaric distortion of human nature," and said that
acts once condemned even in war "are today becoming
a form of protest.


27 January 2011

Many genocides to be commemorated
on Holocaust Memorial Day

Canterbury, England (ENI news)--After the Nazi
slaughter of six million Jews during World War
II, the world cried out "never again." But one
of Britain’s best-known young rabbis, Jonathan
Romain, of Maidenhead Synagogue in Berkshire,
said that although it was a wonderful phrase,
"never again" has proved tragically wrong.



January 24th, 2011

"Accustom yourself continually to make
many acts of love, for they enkindle
and melt the soul."

- Teresa of Avila


January 25th, 2011

"Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the
victim. Silence encourages the tormentor,
never the tormented."

- Elie Wiesel


January 27th, 2011

"Humility leads me to do anything I can
do in any situation without having to do
everything in every situation."

- Joan Chittister


January 29th, 2011

"An individual can march for peace or vote
for peace and can have, perhaps, some small
influence on global concerns. But the same
individual is a giant in the eyes of a
child at home. If peace is to be built,
it must start with the individual.

It is built brick by brick."

- Dorothy Day



Jan. 23, 1973 - President Richard Nixon announced
an accord had been reached to end the Vietnam War.


Jan. 24, 1965 - Winston Churchill died in London
at age 90.


Jan. 25, 1915 - the inventor of the telephone,
Alexander Graham Bell, inaugurated U.S.
transcontinental telephone service.


Jan. 26, 1950 - India proclaims itself a republic.


Jan. 27, 1967 - Astronauts Virgil I. ''Gus''
Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee
died in a flash fire during a test aboard
their Apollo I spacecraft at Cape Kennedy, FL.


Jan. 28, 1986 - space shuttle Challenger
exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from
Cape Canaveral, killing all seven crew


Jan. 29, 1963 - Robert Frost died in Boston.



Fashion Tip:

"Make sure your walk matches your talk"


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